Looking for incentives for your NEXT PROJECT?

How would you like 25% CASH back on
qualified expenses of your next project?

Step 1:
Go to tnentertainment.com/film/incentives to learn more.

Contact the TN Film Commissioner.
Bob Raines:



1. Where can I find the information to see if my project qualifies for state incentive funds?

At the website www.tnentertainment.com of the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Music Commission, you’ll find all the guidelines and forms needed.

2. How much is the state incentive? Is it a tax credit or a cash refund?

The Tennessee state incentive is a 25 percent cash refund.

3. Do all production expenses count toward the cash refund?

No. For example, only the wages of in-state cast and crew usually count toward the refund.

4. Must proof of Tennessee residency be submitted to obtain a 25 percent refund of wages of in-state cast and crew?

Yes -- and only a Tennessee Driver’s License or state-issued Tennessee ID are acceptable proof. Both the license or the ID must have been valid (not expired) during the time period worked on the production.

5. What other types of in-state expenses count towards the 25 percent refund?

The list of eligible and ineligible expenses can be found on page four of the Guidelines, in sections 5.1 and 5.2. Examples of eligible expenses would be equipment and facilities rentals, location fees, make-up and hair expenses, music expenditures – all eligible expenses as long as a Tennessee vendor is used. Examples of ineligible expenses would be wages, salaries, fees paid to non-Tennesseans, expenses incurred before receiving approval in advance from the Tennessee Entertainment Commission (TEC), and cell phone expenses.

6. My “star” is coming in from Los Angeles. Although I can’t claim her refund of wages since she is not a Tennessean, can I claim her travel and living expenses?

If the airline or train ticket is purchased through a Tennessee travel agency and her travel is to or from or within Tennessee, you can count the cost of the ticket toward expenses eligible for the 25 percent incentive refund. All housing allowances (in-state) and per diem are also eligible expenses – whether paid to a Tennessean or non-Tennessean.

7. Can I submit the required incentive forms when I start pre-production? Will I receive retroactive credit for monies already spent?

No! The TEC recommends filing appropriate forms four (4) months before principal photography begins. No retroactive granting of funds is possible.

8. Must I have my funding and distribution in place before I apply?

Production needs to provide “sufficient” proof of funding. You will be asked to provide plans for distribution, but a definite distribution contract is not required.

9. As long as I follow all the guidelines and meet all the deadlines and criteria, will my application automatically be approved?

Not necessarily. Tennessee’s state production incentive program has limited funding and therefore is not “first come, first served.” Projects are approved based on merit and the “best interests” of the state.

10. Who decides which projects receive Certificates of Eligibility?

Applications must be submitted to the TEC. After an initial review and approval by the TEC Executive Director, Film Commissioner Bob Raines, all applications will be brought before the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) Grants Committee.

11. Is any staff or board member from the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission on this committee?

No. The committee is composed entirely of state ECD employees. However, input will be sought from leading representatives of the Memphis & Shelby County Film and Television Commission, City Government, and County Government.

12. Can any of the incentive funds reserved for Memphis/Shelby County-based productions be used to fund such projects?

No. The funds are to incentivize funded projects, not to provide the funds to make them.

13. What if a last minute investor invests more money into my film after I have submitted my original budget? Will I automatically be eligible to apply for more incentive funds?

No. An official “budget amendment” must first be submitted while production is still in progress.

14. How soon after my production has wrapped will I receive my incentive check from the state?

It typically takes 30-60 days from submission of the required “Accountant’s Report” to the state for internal review to be completed.

This summary is meant to represent only the most frequently asked questions regarding the Tennessee state production incentive and monies reserved for Memphis/Shelby County. For complete information on what you need to know, go to the Tennessee Entertainment Commission website www.tnentertainment.com and click on Incentives under the Film section. Contact Tennessee Film Commissioner Bob Raines at 615-741-3456 or bob.raines@tn.gov.


  • Discounted Memphis Police Department production rates.
  • Discounted film commission hotel production rates.
  • After 30 days, your City/County hotel taxes disappear.

Come stay awhile!

Call 901.527.8300 Extension 2 for more information.